Millennium Packaging wanted to grow. That’s why they tasked chief process engineer Keith Weber with finding new opportunities. And he did. Looking into every nook and cranny, he came across what he considered to be an exciting opportunity. What he found was a need for a more affordable machine that would be used to fill vape cartridges. He discovered that the normal cartridge filling process is either manual, tedious and slow, or automated, big, and incredibly expensive.He was sure that his company could compete. So his goal was to design and develop a cartridge filling system that was smaller, faster, better, and more affordable than what was already out there. But for Millennium to enjoy the growth they were looking for, this packaging supplier would have to become an OEM. And to do that Keith would have to find the ideal automation partner. And he did…eventually.
Finding the right partner makes all the difference
Millennium collaborated with several groups that just didn’t cut it. Keith Weber, says, “They were difficult to work with. They had programming problems. They were unresponsive and they left us out to dry.”
Enter Affiliated Control Equipment, a Mitsubishi Electric Automation distributor. Their expertise helped Millennium rapidly move from programming, to problem resolution, component selection, data extraction, and the compatibility of different parts of the system. The project presented a wide range of unusual challenges for the Affiliated team to tackle.
“They helped us conquer the monster challenge of viscosity,” said Keith Weber, process engineer at Millennium Packaging. “Being able to fill a cartridge with anything from water to a resin the thickness of a caramel candy.”
Sales Engineer Ryan Krajecki from Affiliated Control added, “We participated in every phase of development; start to finish.” Keith acknowledged Affiliated’s contribution saying, “It was a brilliant relationship. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
But they did it. And the result was The Vulcan!
The Vulcan fills the need for growth
The Vulcan Series is a modular cartridge-filling system that improves on existing systems. The Affiliated team worked with Millennium to make the tabletop Vulcan scalable within the same modular framework. This allows it to grow from manual, to semi-automated, to fully automated.
Thanks to the seamless integration of Mitsubishi Electric Automation products, the Vulcan system does everything required to go from raw materials to sellable cartridges. It handles the entire process – end-to-end – including heating the resin and cartridge, and then filling, capping, and sealing.
Integrated components from Mitsubishi Electric Automation
The Vulcan System uses essential automation components, including:
Data collection equipment
Using Mitsubishi Electric was important to Millennium because in the past, they’d had some compatibility issues with other suppliers. According to Keith, “With our previous supplier, we had problems with upgrading, backlogs, and trouble getting the support we needed.” This wasn’t the case with Mitsubishi Electric.
A winning partnershipPerhaps one of the best moves made by Millennium was to accept Mitsubishi Electric’s invitation to join their Diamond Partner OEM Program. As a program participant, Millennium has access to a wealth of resources including training to reduce learning curves, and experts who can help accelerate design and achieve greater programming efficiency. In addition to support in engineering and manufacturing, Diamond Partner OEMs can also tap into Mitsubishi Electric expertise in sales and marketing.
The Vulcan benefits
Thanks to automation solutions from Mitsubishi Electric and support from Affiliated Control, Millennium engineers were able to deliver a system that delivers:
Scalability: Manual, semi-automated, automatic
A Tabletop Footprint: Dimension in inches vs. many feet
Everything in One Process: Raw materials turned into salable product in one single process
Growth! All due to building a better mousetrap
According to Keith Weber, “The current system can go from manual to automatic. But in the future, you’ll see the rise of the S-series; that is, the SCARA machine tender series, in which Vulcan does it all, freeing workers to do other jobs.”
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